In the wake of what is set to be crippling sanctions on Penn State and its football team, new head coach Bill O'Brien said he's not walking away from Happy Valley and plans to rebuild the team from devastating penalties.
Today we receive a very harsh penalty from the NCAA and as Head Coach of the Nittany Lions football program, I will do everything in my power to not only comply, but help guide the University forward to become a national leader in ethics, compliance and operational excellence. I knew when I accepted the position that there would be tough times ahead. But I am committed for the long term to Penn State and our student athletes, O'Brien, the former offensive coordinator for the NFL's New England Patriots, said in a statement, according to Sara Ganim of The Patriot-News of Harrisburg, which first broke the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal that led to Monday's sanctions.
O'Brien continued, I was then and I remain convinced that our student athletes are the best in the country. I could not be more proud to lead this team and these courageous and humble young men into the upcoming 2012 season. Together we are committed to building a better athletic program and university.
David Joyner, Penn State's acting athletic director, said in a statement that he was confident the school can return itself to a football powerhouse after the sanctions, which include a $60 million fine, a four-year bowl ban and the loss of dozens of scholarships.
As we move forward, today's student athletes have a challenging road ahead. But they will do the right thing, as they have always done, Joyner said in a statement, according to CBS Philadelphia. I am confident all of our head coaches will come together to make the change necessary to drive our university forward. Penn State will continue to fully support its established athletic programs, which provide opportunities for over 800 student athletes.
Lauren Reid, a Penn State graduate, said she admired O'Brien for sticking with the football team during what is sure to be a down period for the once storied Nittany Lions.
Leaders like Bill O'Brien are the first step towards rebuilding and moving forward. Much respect to him, she tweeted.
ESPN NFL insider Chris Mortensen said O'Brien has the right attributes to take the helm at Penn State following the firing and death of legendary coach Joe Paterno.
No matter what happens Monday, Bill O'Brien is best man suited to lead Penn St out of this darkness. #NittanyLions, Mortensen tweeted.